Thursday, November 19, 2015

A brief history behind the first computer at UC

The first computer at UC may not have been the IBM 650 which arrived in June 1958, but it certainly was the most powerful one to be placed on UC’s campus at that time. It was installed first temporarily in Swift Hall and permanently in the new annex wing that had been building on the east side of the Physics Building (Braunstein Hall). The math department was also placed in this new wing.

There appear to be a several pre-cursors to this event however. Both Paul Herget out at the observatory (1949) and the Machine Records Department (1950) obtained an IBM calculating punch machines. The observatory had a 602 model and I am guessing MRD had similar equipment and this was detailed in a previous report. One big benefit to the students in terms of this automation was that beginning in the 1950-51 school year students’ grade reports went from being hand-written to a printed format.

1. The Cincinnati Observatory Co-operative Job IBM Department, Oscar Mayo Lewis, Jr., Summer 1949
2. Records Quarterly, Newsletter of the University of Cincinnati Records Management Program, Janice M. Schulz, CRM University Records Manager and Archives Specialist, Spring 2010

An early analog computer on campus
Unless otherwise noted all of the information came from various articles found in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

In 1952 Carl Ludeke got a $4000 grant added to an already $8000 from Research Corp so that UC build an analog computer (in today’s dollars that would be $107,000). The purpose of this computer was to aid in solving differential equations which was a challenge back then. Even Paul Herget needed to solve complex differential equations to calculate the orbits of the minor planets and later satellites. I have not found anything more information on the success/failure of this analog computer. Interesting enough, in 1968 a hybrid digital-analog computer was located in the engineering college.

Ludeke earned his PhD in physics from UC in 1935 and then he joined the faculty at John Carroll University in Cleveland. He was a good tennis while at Hughes High School and UC and later the tennis coach at John Carroll University for one year. He remained there until 1941 which was a year after his father had passed. He joined UC at that time and taught in the engineering college. His first wife was Marie Seuberling who was featured in a 2005 UC article about Herman Schneider the originator of co-operative education. She was his secretary from 1935-40. They were married in 1946. In 1950s he was the emcee for a WLW TV show on science. All through the 1930s to early 1960s there are references to him.

In a 1939 John Carroll University newsletter, it says that he took his vacation “Miami-beaching” so it is obvious that he loved that area. The last reference that I could find about him was in 1967 which stated that “his interest in oceanography led him to the Institute of Marine Science at the University of Miami. He and his wife, Blanche Ludeke who worked UC for 20 years in purchasing, took a scientific sailing trip to the Bahamas. She passed away in 1999 and two years later Carl followed her.

The Medical Computing Center
In the book “Medcomp” by Ted Sterling and Sy Pollack there is a reference made to a Burroughs computer at the medical campus. In the beginning of the section entitled “The Medical Computing Center University of Cincinnati” it states:

“The Medical Computing Center is a joint venture of the College of Medicine and the Department of Preventive Medicine and Industrial Health. It got its start in 1957 when a Burroughs E102 was purchased by Dr. John Phair, Professor of Preventive Medicine, in the hope that this machine may prove useful to research of the department.”

From there things took off and the computing center grew and in 5 years they were able got a grant from NIH to purchase an IBM 7040-1401 computer system. I have not been able to ascertain when the Burroughs computer actually arrived on campus, nor have I been able to verify it was an E102 or some other model like the E101. Very few E102s were sold (6 or so) and from what I found they were not very reliable or usable. Together over 200 of the E101 and E103s were sold (2). I do know that a Burroughs computer was on the medical campus as Joe Landwehr had it next to him in his first office when he was hired by the Medical Computing Center in 1964.

Some of the Members of the Medical Computer Center:
The computer committee:
            Chair: Sam Trufant (contacted July 17, 2007, but he did not remember any specifics)
            Robert Kehoe
            James Kereiakes
            John Phair
            Eugene Saenger
            Ted Sterling (email communication with his son, David on September 29, 2006)
Associate Director: Sy Pollack (interviewed June 6, 2007)
Programs and Operations: Hank Weller and Diane Stuebing (both were researched)
Engineering: Frank Scarpino (tried to contact him)
David Adamson (interviewed April 9, 2008)
Malcom Gleser (interviewed March 6, 2008)
Robert Walton (interviewed January 6, 2008)
            Dale Gieringer (interviewed April 7, 2008)
            Steve Lameier (interviewed April 24, 2008)
            Michael Lichstein (interviewed December 31, 2007)
            Paul Thompson (interviewed May 28, 2008)

1. Medcomp Handbook of Computer Application in Biology and Medicine, T. Sterling and S. Pollack, Sept 1, 1963
2. A Fourth Survey of Domestic Electronic Digital Computing Systems, Chapter III Tables of Computer Characteristics, January 1964 by Martin H. Weik, published by Ballistic Research Laboratories, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland,

The IBM 650 arrives on campus
According a 1956 edition of the UC Cincinnati Alumnus a bond issue was placed before the citizens of Cincinnati to house new computer. Back in those days UC was a city supported university. It was Proposed Bond Issue 11 on the ballot and it was “for the purpose of making University of Cincinnati improvements” for a total sum of $1.6 million for a maximum period of 23 years. One of those improvements was for the Physics Building to add on to the east-side of the building for housing of the new computer, the bookstore, and classrooms and offices. In a Feb 14, 1957 Cincinnati Enquirer article an announcement about UC leasing an "electronic brain" is released. Herget began teaching a course related to how to use the computer to interested faculty members. Everything was in place for UC's entering into the computer age.

University of Cincinnati Computing Laboratory memo dated February 11, 1958
This memo covered some of the rationale behind the getting the IBM 650 computer.

Some key statements made in this letter:
1. High-level university training and research in this era demand the availability of high-speed calculating and data processing machines.

2. The university presently offers courses in these fields. Equipment is not available, however to give more adequate instruction. (Note: The Evening College seems to have been were these classes were first taught.)

3. The 650 computer will permit offering of courses in the principles and programming for digital computers for students in mathematics and science as well as in business administration.

4. With proper laboratory facilities the University can help to overcome the present shortage of trained personnel interested in the computing field. (Note: I browsed through the Cincinnati Archives and there were a high demand for persons with computer related skills)

5. There are no less than fifteen departments … which would be greatly aided by adequate computing facilities. Some departments sorely need such equipment, since computing time must presently be purchased elsewhere in order to carry forward research work. One or two of our faculty have made trips as far as the University of Minnesota to beg or buy computing time on computers available there. (Note: Even Paul Herget would go to GE, CG&E, and Proctor and Gamble to use their facilities.)

6. A number of members of the University faculty and staff have had extensive experience with computing equipment. (Note: only Paul Herget and Eugene Rabe were mentioned in this memo.)

7. The annual operating cost would amount to about $42,000.00.

8. A $20,000.00 grant has been received from the National Science Foundation toward the first year’s costs. In addition, several Cincinnati business firms have either pledged or indicated financial support of $14,000 per annum. (Note: $8000 additional money was need for the first year and for the next two years it rose to $28000)

9. UC planned on covering future costs through contract work both internal and external (see later memo).

10. The estimated annual cost -- UC receive a 40% reduction in rental charge of $56, 496.00
                        Rental of IBM 650 and accessories               $33,948.00*
                        Salaries (1 part-time faculty member,
                                        2 graduate assistants                         7,100.00

Cincinnati Alumnus, Spring 1958 “Electronic Computer Ready This Month”
Below are a few major points from the article.

An advanced aid to research and teaching in the form of a scientific computing laboratory will be available for University use this month, according to Dr. Hoke S. Greene, dean of academic administration and of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Among UC departments which have indicated an interest in using the laboratory are accounting, applied science, chemistry, economics, all engineering departments, the Institute of Industrial Health, Kettering Laboratory, marketing, mathematics, physics, psychiatry, psychology, and sociology.

Cincinnati Alumnus, Fall 1958 “A Computer comes to campus”
This article covers when the “electronic brain” was finally delivered. It was Hoke Greene’s office that oversaw the operation of the new computing center. In June the IBM 650 was temporarily housed in Room 209 in Swift Hall which once the home of the Applied Arts as the construction on the Physics Building was expected to be done by November. During this time period quite a few companies and universities were getting their own computers and the IBM 650 was one of the most popular computers with close to 2000 being produced.

Some key statement made in this article:
1. UC is providing courses in numerical analysis and data processing — teaching what the machine will do. (These courses were taught out of the Evening College and opened to the general public.)

2. It can provide answers to numerous questions of importance to industry. For instance, a railroad company could use the machine to find out if its cars were being used to maximum efficiency — whether too many were standing idle in sidings, whether the distribution was good, and so on. The Computer can answer such questions from data supplied.

3. The Computer is being used to calculate facts about the earth’s man-made satellites that are being spun into orbit, and about the “shooting the moon” project. (There was a race to see which country to hit the moon first.)

4. Countries all over the world are sending data about minor planets to UC in an international scheme in which the computer is being used to calculate the orbits of these planets from the world-wide data supplied. (The Minor Planet Center was headed up by Paul Herget and housed at the Observatory.)

5. The history of how the Computer came to UC started with Dr. Herget, who asked International
Business Machine Corp. to lend him a machine for the Observatory (that would have been the IBM 602 mentioned earlier). IBM Corp. obliged. Then a symposium was held — attended by experts in celestial mechanics from all over the world. Industrialists came, and so did students. Great interest was aroused, and plans were set afoot for the installation of the Computer on the campus.

A Cincinnati Enquirer article dated Jan 20, 1956 -- Math Club Sets '56 Series; Computing Symposium at UC. This was conducted by IBM under the sponsorship of the UC Math Club. The keynote was given by Dr. Alton Householder (mentioned in Herget's 1973 interview with Henry Tropp) from the Oakridge National Lab and was held in the former Wilson Auditorium. The speakers were: Paul Herget (UC), Jack Hughes (who at the time was at GE, but he left later in that year and went to P&G where he was responsible for getting their first computer), Hoke Green (UC), Walter Ott (CG&E), and George Nardin (Armco Steel and a former UC prof).

Additional Note:
A Cincinnati Enquirer article dated May 3, 1959 -- Conference at UC Plans Space Maps. This conference went from May 17-25 and was attended by some of the biggest names in astronomy at that time from around the world. The list of the American astronomers were listed and included Harold Alden, Dorrit Hoffleit, W. J. Luyten, William W. Morgan, Stanislaus Vasilevskis, Dirk Brouwer, Gerald Clemence, and others.

I believe that the author of this memo (unknown) merged the two conferences together and it may have been because that person didn't know the actual institutional history and was going on a hearsay understanding.

6. Though there were some computers in industrial use in Cincinnati, none were available for instruction of students, so Mr. William Zimmer, vice-president of Cincinnati Gas and Electric Company, spearheaded a move amongst city industry to help finance a computer at UC. A contribution of $32,000 was raised, which with $20,000 granted by the National Science Foundation assured substantial coverage of rental for the first year, and partially for the next two years.

7. Now, local industry not only subsidizes the Computer but also makes ready use of it, paying for the privilege. Eventually it is hoped that the Computer will become self-supporting, as more and more use is made of it. (The intention was all along to earn money from internal (grant-related work) and external customers.)

8. There is a photograph showing Paul Herget standing with David Levinson (dress shirt and tie). Levinson is described as being the Supervisor of the UC Computing Laboratory; however, I have not been able to find any information about him.

9. There is another photograph’s caption reads “Here Don Fair of (Robert A.) Taft Sanitary Engineering Center sits at computer’s console, working on project for his company.” (Donald H. Fair co-authored a couple of papers: “Relation of Benzene Soluble Organic Matter to Suspended Participate Matter in the Atmosphere” and “Analysis of Seasonal Variations in Air Pollutant Levels”)

University of Cincinnati Computation Center memo dated October 13, 1958
This memo talks about the financial support, date the computing center will be in its permanent location, the role of the lab supervisor, and the IBM 650 peripherals

Some key statements made in this letter:
1. Support has come from three sources outside the university. The National Science Foundation has provided a grant in aid research for the first year, the IBM Corporation has allowed certain discounts on the equipment rented for this purpose, and a number of corporations have contributed amounts extending over a period of one to three years as a sustaining fund to help the university inaugurated this new laboratory.

2. The equipment is being moved this week (to the Physics Building) and will be in operation on October 20, 1958. These quarters will be completely adequate for the operation of the computer in that proper air conditioning facilities will be available … . (I remember taking some summer courses in one of the rooms in that wing of the Physics Building because of the AC.)

3. A supervisor of the laboratory has been employed. He will make all scheduling arrangements and will assist those persons authorized to use the laboratory.

4. The equipment in addition to the IBM 650 Electronic Computer:
            402 Tabulator
            519 Reproducer
                   Sorter and 2 Key Punches

The university faculty guidance for use of the Center in appropriate educational and research projects dated November 2, 1959
One year has now passed and by then the details about its operation were formalized including two levels of users. This letter was very extensive and lists the key people in running the early computer center.

Some key statements made in this letter:
1. Purpose – The purpose of the Computing Center is to aid faculty members who have educational and research projects involving voluminous and repetitive computations, and to train people in an appropriate manner for the use of electronic computing methods.

2. Location – Room 314, Physics-Math Bldg.; Tel. Ext. 320

3. Qualification as Operators
DEPENDENT operators, eligible to use the equipment only during regularly supervised hours of the Center; 
INDEPENDENT operators, eligible to use the laboratory at any hours available. Complete details of the procedure for qualifying for each is given on the attached sheet.

4. Training – A number of opportunities to prepare for used of the computer are now available. Several colleges of the University have instituted courses in Numerical Analysis and Data Processing. At least one non-credit IBM Familiarization Course is sponsored each semester by the Computing Center.

5. Priorities for Use – The University is committed to use the computing machine about 20 hours per week for educational purpose and training in computation. Priorities for the use of available machine time will be based exclusively upon the relative merits of the proposals as research, experiments, or training which are appropriate as a function of the University.

6. Costs:
a) Work undertaken is supported by a grant or contract from a non-profit organization making funds available for fund use, machine time will be charged at the rate of $40/hour.
b) Work performed under contract with commercial or industrial organizations (profit organization) will be charged at the rate of $60/hour. Projects in which the contracting agency retains control and directions or specifies the results to be obtained will not be approved unless the machine time is paid for.
c) Commercial and industrial applications will be considered only when some member of the University Faculty is connected with the project as a research consultant and the use meets the same standards of evaluation as on-campus projects, i.e. research or experiments appropriate as a function of the projects have been accommodated.
d) No charges are made for educational uses and for unsupported research.

7. Administration and Organization
a) As an all University function, the Computing Center is operated as an activity directly under the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School.
b) The Faculty Committee listed below has been appointed to recommend general policy governing the Center and to be responsible for its general operation.
c) Mr. David Levinson, Supervisor of the Computing Center, is in charge of the direct operation of the facility. He is assisted on a part-time basis by two other graduate students.
d) Liaison officers are established for each college, who will forward applications for use of the Center to the Committee. The liaison officer will include his recommendation indicating the appropriateness of the proposed use in accordance with the principles outlined above. The following persons serve as liaison officers in the respective colleges:
            Art and Sciences                    Hans Jaffe
            Business Admin.                    Dean Wilson
            Applied Arts & Eng’g   Dean Wandmacher
            Teachers Collge                     William Carter
            Medical College                     Theodor Sterling
            Pharmacy                                Raymond Eling
e) University Computer Committee:
            Campbell Crockett, Graduate School
            Walter A. Baude, Statistics, Chairman
            Paul Herget, Astronomy
            Hans H. Jaffe, Chemistry
            Gordon S. Skinner, Economics
            Theodor D. Sterling, Medicine
            Cornelius Wandmacher, Engineering
            Edward F. White, Mathematics

8. List of Requirements for Qualifying to Operate the 650-IBM Computer
As a DEPENENT operator:
When the candidate feels sufficiently prepared he should submit a key-punched program (minimum of 25 instructions, including at least one loop) along with a complete write-up (statement of problem, address assignments, flow-chart and listing of program). This program must be correct in the sense that it accomplishes on the 650 what the write-up claims it will. On the basis of the program, the candidate will be tested at the machine to determine if he is able:
            a) to trace his program;
            b) to execute a memory dump
            c) to “de-bug” with reasonable facility intentionally inserted errors;
d) to demonstrate a complete knowledge of the functions of all switches and the meanings of all lights on the console
As an INDEPENDENT operator:
After a probation period of approximately 100 hours of computer operation, during which a dependent operator will have demonstrated his ability to operate the computer with a high degree of proficiency, and have demonstrated a thorough acquaintance with all emergency techniques in the operation of the machines in the Center, he may petition the Computer Committee in writing to be designated as an independent operator. An alternative method will be to have a member of the Committee sponsor the applicant’s petition for this designation.

An independent operator may schedule use of the computer at any hours available. In the absence of the regular supervisory staff, he shall assume all its immediate responsibilities. These include, in particular:
            a) close and secure all windows and doors in the Center;
            b) make complete log entries;
            c) record fully machine failures which are not random;
            d) NO service calls are to be made;
e) shot off all auxiliary equipment and shut off main power switch after blower motors have stopped.

Computing Laboratory Fund Nov 11, 1958
Contributions to date:
            Bardes Corporation                                             100.00
            The Central Trust Company                                350.00
            Cincinnati Gas & Electric Co.                  5,000.00
            Cincinnati Suburban Bell Telephone                  500.00
            Fashion Frocks, Inc                                             200.00
            General Electric Company                               5,000.00
            Fifth Third Union Trust Co.                                500.00
            *First National Bank of Cincinnati                  1,800.00
            Lunkanheimer Foundation                                  500.00
            National Science Foundation                         20,000.00
            Procter & Gamble Fund                           2,000.00
            John Shillito Co.                                                  500.00
            Trailmobile, Inc                                                   500.00
            Union Central Life Ins. Co.                                 750.00

(* First National contribution extended over three years)
 Some additional contributions that were hand-written on this page:
            Black-Clawson Co. (11/24)                                   50.00
            Beau Brummell Ties Inc. (12/18)                          50.00
            Avco Mfg Corp Crosley Div (12/18)                   100.00
            Tool Steel Gear & Pinion Co                         50.00
            New total                                                        37,700 + 250 = $37,950
            Need $123,000

Black Clawson originated in Hamilton Ohio, USA in the 1880's and has been delivering machinery to the word wide paper industry since that time.

Beau Brummell Ties was established in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1920. It was even sold on the New York Curb Market. George Bryan "Beau" Brummell was a rather colorful fixture of British society in the early 1800s.
The Physics Building Annex -- the IBM 650 was housed on the first floor (1960 yearbook)

Eventually the Marchant Calculators were replaced with the small calculators of today which have more computing power than the IBM 650 seen below
IBM 650 -- 1960 Cincinnatian Yearbook

IBM 650 -- 1959 Cincinnatian Yearbook

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Celestial mechanics and computer science – a lot closer than one realizes

Dieter Schmidt (interviewed June 10, 2005 by my son Brian in the honors course that I taught and later on March 10, 2006 along with Ken Meyer)

PhD University of Minnesota, 1970; Dissertation: Families of Periodic Orbits in the Restricted

Areas of expertise
1. Computer Algebra
2. Efficient Manipulation of Polynomials
3. Hamiltonian Dynamical Systems
4. Celestial Mechanics
5. Scientific computing
6. Computer security and encryption

Schmidt and Jintai Ding broke the SFlash-v3, one of the new European security standards for smart cards. This finding was presented at the International Workshop on Public Key Cryptology. (The Right Angle, Mathematics Alumni Newsletter, Vol 12, Autumn 2004)

Brief history of computing at UC as best he could recall
1. The history of computing at UC goes back to the Cincinnati observatory which first began using computers to track asteroids in the 1960’s.
2. Professor Herget used the IBM 360’s in the Medical Sciences Building (MSB) located at the medical college campus to calculate these orbits for what was then known as Minor Planets Center (MPC). Herget later went on to work for the Mercury Space program.
3. Andre Deprit who was hired to take over MPC, but that did not occur as Herget and Deprit had a falling out. Deprit was the first to start teaching computer science in the Math Department in 1974. He went on to do valuable research at the National Bureau of Standards.
4. Work continued at the university using computers to track orbits, eventually using the Amdahl computer for symbolic computations for celestial mechanics.
5. Professor Schmidt did some computing work that dealt with the motion of the moon, computations that could not have otherwise been done by hand. After the moon landing, when its motion could accurately be tracked, Schmidt’s computations were found to only be off by three inches.
6. The computer science major was formed in 1984 in the College of Arts and Sciences due to an ever growing student interest in learning about computers.
7. In the 1970s the mainframe was connected to a network known as SWORCC, or Southwest Ohio Regional Computer Center.
8. In 1996 the computer science program merged with a similar one in the College of Engineering and they developed a curriculum focused on studying algorithms.

Open courses taught by Schmidt
From the UC Monitor, Winter Quarter 1985, Vol 1 No 2 edition
1. Introduction to LISP by Dr. Dieter Schmidt Professor, Computer Science Department
February 1, 1985 -- LISP is a programming language designed to process non-numeric data, and it is popular for programs that deal with artificial intelligence. 
2. Ada For Programmers: An Introduction by Dr. Dieter Schmidt, Professor, Computer Science Department Friday, March 8 , 1985 2:00-4:30 p.m. This hands-on session will introduce Ada, the new programming language which was developed by the Defense Department. The language has unique features not found in any other programming language

1. The acquisition of the Orville and Wylbur system, a precursor to the CRT, this system replaced the punch card machines in Beecher hall and allowed users to interact with the system via screen and keyboard.
2. In the 1980’s UC acquired a VAX computer in Beecher hall, a break away from the IBM mainframe and a system that could run several different operating systems.
3. In 1991 the program started using IBM PC’s and its emphasis shifted away from programming for mainframes and more towards the up and coming personal computers.

Brad Kuhn (interviewed Feb 28, 2007) worked on open source foundation development of a Unix-like operating system -- Linux.

Today (2005)
1. PC’s are still the focus of the curriculum with the future shifting towards programming for internet applications.

2. A Unix computer was still on campus.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The astronomer who learned about time and programming from Paul Herget

Ken Seidelmann (interviewed March 31, 2006 plus email exchanges)
1955 – graduated from Walnut Hills High School
1955-60 – BS in Electrical Engineering and a member of ROTC
1962 – Master of Science under Paul Herget; thesis – Doppler Measurements of Earth Satellites for Position
1963-65 – completed his military service at the US Army Missile Command as a Research and Development Coordinator
1965-68 – returned to UC to complete his PhD under Herget in Dynamical Astronomy
1965-2000 – the U. S. Naval Observatory; he served as the director of the Nautical Almanac Office, Orbital Mechanics Department, and Astrometry Directorate a various points during his career there
1973-95 – visiting professor at the University of Maryland
2000 – research professor in the Astronomy Department at the University of Virginia

Undergrad, coop, masters, military service, and back to complete his PhD
Ken was an undergrad from 1955-60 majoring in electrical engineering. One of the things he remembered about his undergrad years was that engineering students did not have to stand in line in order to sign up for classes because of coop. Engineering students had 7 week coops 3 times a year with no choice on what class or professor you took. (Back then UC was on a trimester system. The only difference between then and now is that students now coop for an entire semester.)

He cooped at Cincinnati Milling (Milacron) which had started to introduce computer control in 1958-59. He was able to work on their Goodyear analog computer (Goodyear Electronic Differential Analyzer or GEDA). He did his undergrad thesis using this computer. Ken described it as a neat device which could be used to aid in solving differential equations. Cincinnati Milling had gotten this machine, but nobody was using it so he and his friend Jack (not sure of last name) used the computer to do their undergrad thesis. They were the only ones using it and so no maintenance was ever done on it so they had to take care of that themselves.

After he graduate from engineering, Ken wanted to go into applied math, but he was advised to study under Paul Herget where he could take all the math he wanted and also celestial mechanics as a bonus. His advisor felt this had a better future with the start of the space programs, than applied math. Also there were NSF grants available to support him for 3 years which was how long he could defer his military obligation so he followed their advice. He got married before entering grad school a decision that probably was not well received by Herget that at the time. However, over the years Herget came to really enjoy visiting Ken’s family. Ken spent summers in Green Bank, WV working at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and in Washington DC at the US Naval Observatory. After getting his master’s degree, he went into the Army to complete his ROTC commitment.

During his time working on his masters Campbell Crockett was the dean of the graduate school, but was his secretary who was the real boss at as far as the graduate students were concerned. She was the person who signed their registration cards and was the person grad students wanted to see when they needed something. By the time Ken had returned to UC, he was to be the last PhD student to study under Herget. Two earlier students, Walter Poplarchek and James Wray, left early and John Derral Mulholland had recently completed his PhD. Several others had worked under Eugene Rabe.

Friden calculators, the IBM 650, and his first introduction to programming
The first computer had arrived on campus in 1958 and was housed in the Physics Building, but Seidelmann did not remember any of that as he was still an engineering student trying to get through his classes and coop. However, that would all change and when he started as a graduate student under Herget he quite the lesson on calculators and computers. Herget got first required his students to learn how to use a Friden calculator even though the 650 computer was in the room next to the graduate student office. In his interview Bill Harlow remembered using the Friden at the observatory for his calculations he needed to complete for his masters on the minor planet Tulipa. UC also had a Marchant calculator lab in the business college and there was Marchant at the Observatory. Both of these calculators can be seen today at the Cincinnati Observatory.

Seidelmann remembered that Herget had a desk in one part of the office and the students had desks or tables, with Friden computers on them. Since the Friden computers made distinctive noises depending on what they were doing, Herget could tell how hard they were working and what they were doing. Herget did not believe in pushing the multiply button, but instead faster by shifting and adding. Herget could tell if someone used the multiple button by the sound made by the Friden and He strongly objected to the offending student; however, it was easier to use the multiply button all the same. Herget did not always prepare his lectures but instead talked about what was currently on his mind which was often times better than the basic lecture of what was in a book. However, Herget also used a book that he had typed himself and out clarifying explanations were often missing so one had to pay close attention to his lectures.

The first time Seidelmann and three fellow students were introduced to the 650, Herget put the card deck in the card reader, set some dials on the computer, turned on the card punch and printer, pushed some buttons, and watched the computer do its thing and then punch cards and print out the results. He showed them once and then walked out of the room leaving the group to figure it out from there. See it once and then figure it out on your own was Herget’s mantra. It was trial and error, but they did finally figure it out. They were taught to program and use the IBM 650, which was generally available, as there were few other users. They programmed in what was called SOAP and NOSOAP which were assembly languages. Later, Seidelmann would use the 650 at USNO so his UC experience proved helpful. (Note: SOAP was an IBM developed assembly language and NOSOAP was developed by Herget, Ray Duncombe, and Gerald Clemence. I interviewed Duncombe about Herget and he later came to UC where he gave a couple of talks about Paul.)

The NORC and the Herg
Seidelmann remember well the NORC computer which was designed by Wallace Eckert at IBM and installed at the Navy site in Dahlgren. Herget worked with the Navy on the Vanguard project which predated NASA. He helped program the data processing of the Navy space fence, which is what the NORC was used for. He introduced an artificial time unit, which he called the Herg that is still used by the navy at Dahlgren. As a result he had access to computer time on the NORC. Herget would periodically visit Dahlgren with a pile of cards to do minor planet orbits on the NORC. Of all the computers Herget programmed on, it was the NORC that was his most favorite.

Herget would usually stop in Washington coming or going and visit us and other friends in Washington. Often times he would stay at Ray Duncombe’s house while he worked for IBM. That's how he got to know Seidelmann’s family, and Ken said it was a different man to see him on the floor playing with their little children. This went on from the mid-60s through the 70s.

A few otherthings about Paul Herget
Herget had access to computers at CG&E, Proctor and Gamble, and other sites around Cincinnati. Seidelmann went with him to CG&E one time, they had the Julian Day Number up on a black board, which surprised him. CG&E needed to have a continuous day count for billing, so Herget had taught them about the existing astronomical day count system, and they were using it.

worked on the design of the Pringles potato chip so that P&G could automatically stack the chips and he was given a life time supply of Pringles;
was involved in setting up a cancer registry when his first wife, Harriet, was stricken with cancer;
loved trains and would find ways to watch them wherever he was;
had a good sense of humor and a great ability for telling stories.

People he remembered
Bill Restemeyer & Richard Englemann – (Note: both of these professors had quite an impact on many of the EE students during their time at UC and have been mentioned multiple times by people that I interviewed.)

Carl and Don Osterbrock – Don and Ken collaborated on biography of Paul Herget; Ken did the technical part and Don did the personal part; when one of the editors sent a note back to them that the “writing did not have any rhythm”, Don wrote a somewhat sternly written rebuttal (Note: their father, W. Carl Osterbrock was head of EE at one time had died while Jim Kaiser was at UC. The younger Carl Osterbrock taught at UC and like his father, he moved up into administration at UC.)

Eugene Rabe -- was brought over from Germany by Herget for the Minor Planet Center; he was very energetic person who checked minor planet orbits by searching for resonant conditions; usually, one of his graduate students did the computer part which could run unattended at night. There was an astronomy meeting in Indiana and Rabe gave a talk.  Ken’s wife, Bobbie, made the talk which was supposed to be about 20 minutes but Rabe had prepared for a 40 minute lecture. Instead of cutting back he just talked twice as fast. During the break Herget came up to her and asked if she understood what Rabe was talking about. She said “no” and Herget said “don’t feel bad as at any given time only about 20% of the people in a room understand what is being said and that 20% moves around during the course of the presentation; make sure you never fall into that 20%.”

Conrad Bardwell (1926-2010) (interviewed April 6, 2008) -- worked at the Minor Planet Center (MPC) at the Cincinnati Observatory. (Note: he came to UC in 1958 and eventually became a Research Associate was at UC doing a lot of work related to running of the MPC. When the center was moved to Cambridge in 1978, he went with it to work with Brian Marsden at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. He earned his masters in 1964. On of his most spectacular identification, published on MPC 2678 in 1966, was that the objects numbered (1095) and (1449) were in fact one and the same object; as a consequence, the latter number was retained, and the number and name (1095) Tulipa were assigned to a different object. Bill Harlow did his master’s thesis on Tulipa. For more about Bardwell see A Brief History of the Minor Planet Center by Conrad M. Bardwell, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.)

J. Derral Mulholland (1934-2008) -- got a PhD (1965) under Herget. He went on to work at JPL, University of Texas, and in France. He was involved with JPL ephemerides and lunar laser ranging, among other subjects. He did some real good work. He was a strong minded individual which at times caused him problems. (Note: he taught for the Aerospace Engineering department from 1959-64. He wrote a memoriam on Herget, “Paul Herget and the U.S. Space Program, a Memorial” in 1984. Masters: “On Recasting the Classical Expositions of Celestial Mechanics”; Dissertation: “A Theory of the Sixth Satellite of Jupiter”.)

Carl Evert (interviewed June 21, 2006) -- in EE was starting to use the computer towards the end of Ken’s undergraduate time. (Note: in 1957 he left UC to attend UW-Madison where he completed his PhD and thus was not involved when the first computer came to UC; however, he did most of his computing component of his PhD on UC 650 computer; later, he became the director of academic computing at UC.)

Peter Musen – was also brought over from Germany by Herget for the Minor Planet Center. He was very bright on theoretical work. He suddenly left UC in the late 50s to go the Goddard Space Flight Center, where he stayed until retirement. He taught at the University of Maryland and, when he quit there, Seidelmann took over teaching celestial mechanics there for the next 25 years.

Stanford Pilet (1931-2004) -- got his PhD under Rabe on minor planet orbits and went to work for a long time at Boeing in Seattle.

Alan Schanzle (interviewed July 21, 2007) -- got his PhD under Rabe and worked for Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

Bill Harlow (interviewed Jan 17, 2007) -- taught astronomy in the Evening College was in the math department and later moved over to engineering.

Ken Meyer (interviewed Mar 10, 2006) -- in the math department used the 650 for his prime number research

Andre Deprit (researched) -- was a theoritical astronomer who was at UC for a short while originally it was hoped that he would take over the Minor Planet Center and the Cincinnati Observatory but instead the MPC moved to the Cambridge with Brian Marsden and the observatory fell on hard times.

Shannon Coffey (interviewed Apr 25, 2007) -- was a student of Andre Deprit and went to the Naval Research Laboratory where he was active in the advanced used of computers for space surveillance purposes.

Walt Poplarchek (researched) -- was a student of Hergets in the group that started in 1960. He never got a degree, but remained active in various computer activities over the years. (Note: he taught computer science courses for the University College and was one of the principle people involved in helping the Math Department create their math degree with a computer science concentration.)

David Richardson -- in the Aerospace Engineering Department at UC and active in celestial mechanics at UC following along the lines of Herget and Deprit.

A few of his papers
"Differential Transformers" in Cooperative Engineer, Oct. 1958, Vol. 36, No. 1.
"Avenues of Engineering, Teaching" in Cooperative Engineer, Jan. 1959, Vol. 36, No. 2.
“The Engineer and Education” in Cooperative Engineer, June, 1961, Vol. 38, No. 4
"An Application of Hansen's Methods of General Perturbations to a Minor Planet, Dissertation submitted to University of Cincinnati.
"Mass of Pluto",  with R. L. Duncombe and W. J. Klepczynski, Science 162, 15 Nov. 1968 .
"Paul Herget." Physics Today 35. 86 January 1982.
"Paul Herget: Tracker of the Skies." Sky and Telescope 62, 531, December 1981.
"Paul Herget, 1908 - 1981" with Donald E. Osterbrock, Biographical Memoirs 57, The National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. 1987.

Distinguished Alumni Award, College of Engineering, University of Cincinnati - April 1975
Norman P. Hays Award, Institute of Navigation - June 1992.
NASA Public Service Group Achievement Award for the Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field/Planetary Camera Investigation Definition Team, 30 June 1992.
Fellow, Institute of Navigation

Ken and Bobbie Seidelmann at the Cincinnati Observatory

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Geneticist, painter, go-kart enthusiast, and a computer pioneer

Alex Fraser (researched including communication with his son Alan, his wife Anne, and colleague and friend Larry Erway (Feb 15, 2006) who knew Alex while in California and followed Fraser to UC in 1968)

Fraser revolutionized the study of genetics with his work on Australia’s first computer the SILLIAC. Along with Bob Caster, Fraser helped create the Southwest Ohio Regional Computer Center or SWORCC for short. The entity that they created was one of the biggest computing centers in the Midwest at that time and lasted for five years. In 1985 he suffered a stroke and in 1989 he retired from UC and passed away in 2002.

In a 1968 News Record (1) article it says that Alex Fraser was “born in London and brought up all over the British Empire” and that he considered Hong Kong his home. His Scottish ancestry was a source of pride for him and he received his PhD from the University of Edinburgh. It was his using of the SILLIAC computer that he began to create mathematical models of reproducing populations to mimic real world situations. His novel approach created the field of computational genetics.

Alex Fraser came to UC from halfway across the world with a layover in California. His wife, Anne, told me that one of the selling points to his deciding on relocating to Cincinnati was the green grass and beautiful trees. They lived in the Clifton area not far from Burnet Woods. He started at UC in 1968 where he assumed to role as the department head of the Biological Sciences department for his first four years at UC. This role, his computer knowledge, and his work at University of California at Davis proved valuable to Bob Caster as SWORCC was being created. He was chosen as the chair of the Genetics department at UC-Davis in part because two professors there could not get along, but they both respected Fraser for his work and interpersonal skills. Bob Caster mentioned that it was Fraser’s impressive background and his ability to navigate the political map that helped both UC and Miami reach such an historic agreement.

Fraser was appointed Chairman of the SWORCC Policy Committee. I have a letter, dated July 12, 1973, that Fraser sent to Lloyd Goggin, a VP at Miami University and one of original persons involved in the UC-Miami endeavor, in which he submitted his resignation as the chair of this committee. However, that apparently did not happen as Fraser continued on as the chair. 

In his off-hours, Fraser enjoyed racing go-karts, painting, and taking his grand-kids to Perfect North Slopes for skiing. In his younger days, he was the "D" Class National Champion in Go-Kart Racing in Australia. He was an extra ordinary person whose interpersonal skills along with his technical ones that allowed UC and Miami University to create a unique computer-sharing collaboration that was more than the sum of its parts.

In 1983 Alex Fraser suffered a heart attack and then a stroke which left him unable to speak. His son, Alan, developed a computer-aided artificial voice tutorial system, called Webster, to help his dad in his recovery and rehabilitation. This system was developed on a Commodore 64 PC. In 1985 a UC This Week article details much of this as does a Cincinnati Enquirer article. In one of the article, it points out that before long his dad was “leading the development” through his own experience as a stroke victim to improve the system. It took two years of enhancements made to the program, lots of practice on Alex’s part, and help from a speech pathologist, but eventually, Alex Fraser was able to return to his much loved passion of teaching. It would be my guess, but I suspect that the system Alan built was probably ahead of its time.

His paintings
Note on Alan’s website: All of the photography on this page was done by Professor Larry Erway of the Biology Department of the University of Cincinnati.

Alex Fraser was an artist and painted a host of murals on the walls in the Biology Department located in Rieveschl Hall. To see a look Fraser's other very creative side, a gallery of these paintings can be found at . I placed a few of them below as well.

Alan Fraser’s edited email (UC 1975 – programmer and musician)
My father represented the academic side and Bob Caster represented the business side and the two of them built SWORCC, a consortium with UC and Miami University. Who was actually the biggest cheese really doesn't matter as it was their synergy that made it all happen. It was a time of legend in UC data processing and the reason there was a window in the primary conference room was so teams from visiting universities could see the machine room and one of the first Amdahls. There was a great deal of interest in high-end networking as a means to justify the large-scale processors needed for researchers while at the same time satisfying the relatively mundane needs of the administrative processing. Caster was an entrepreneur and he developed a business relationship with NDP (acronym expansion unknown) in which he would sell CPU cycles and printer services during third shift to generate cash to further expand the environment. This was definitely the heyday of UC data processing.

1. SILLIAC -- John Blatt a UC graduate helped in the building of this computer and it would not surprise me if they at least knew some of the same people if not each other.
2. NPD – I believe this may have been the Neighborhood Development Program that was created by the federal government in 1968 according to a Cincinnati Enquirer article dated Sept 29, 1971. The reason I am guessing it was this organization is because many of the SWORCC contracts were government related such as those with the EPA and NIOSH. However, I have found no documents indicating any NPD contracts at this time.
3. He fondly remembered Dave Bosse as “one of the brightest fellows I've ever known”, Joe Landwehr as “a brilliant technician” and Bob Mays as “another major character in the days of legend.” (all 3 were interviewed)
4. He mentioned the “famous SWORCC parties” – I have heard about them, but can’t seem to find anyone who ‘remembers’ them.
5. He mentioned CITS in his email to me -- the Center for Information Technology Services which followed UCCC; it was created in the autumn of 1991. The CITS group was merged with Facilities Maintenance to create the Administrative Services and Information Technologies Division (more on that later).
6. When I spoke with Larry Erway, it seemed to me that he had Alzheimers which was diagnosed in 2002. He walked me over to Anne's house to see if she was there, but to no avail. I wish that I could have gotten to know him better. He passed away in 2012.

1984 George Barbour Award for Good Faculty-Student Relations  

1. “Dr. Faser Made New Head of Biology Dept.”, UC News Record, Feb 16, 1968
2. “In Memoriam: Alex S. Fraser”, by Bob Caster with additional comments by his son Alan Fraser, and
3. “Amdahl Mainframe Chip – Family Heirloom – Do Not Chuck It”, Searching for Ithaka, October 16, 2015,
4. “In Memoriam: Alex S. Fraser”, IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation, Vol. 6. No. 5, October 2002
5. “Computer hastens Fraser’s return to speech”, UC This Week, May 17, 1985

6. “For Stroke Victim Alex Fraser, Every Word Is A Magic One”, by Camilla Warrick, Cincinnati Enquirer, May 19, 1985

UC This Week May 17, 1985

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The man who expanded UC's computing prowess and the creation of SWORCC

Bob Caster (interviewed June 16, 2006)
Evening College 1957 ASC, Evening College 1959 AA, Evening College 1961 BS; he received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Nebraska.

Bob Caster was at UC twice, first as a student (1954-1961) and later as the director of three UC computer departments (1966-1980), Administration Data Processing (ADP), SWORCC (see below), and UC Computer Center. While a student at UC, he worked in the Machine Records Department (MRD) located in the old administration building (which may have been Dyer Hall), the precursor to ADP, and thus got his first taste of data processing (DP). (1)

He also met Paul Herget during that time as Herget would use their unit record equipment. Herget was his mentor and that friendship continued when Caster took over all computing services in 1969. Caster later gave Herget an office in their department. Caster started out working for Bob Hoefer who was then the comptroller and in charge of the MRD and who in turn reported to Ralph Bursiek. (The College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) recognized Bursiek as one of their Distinguished Alumni in 1977.)

After he graduated from UC, he spent next several years in the industry mainly doing DP work at distilleries. He mentioned that he worked for Shenley Distillers which had a plant in Lawrenceburg, IN. This work got him more exposure to IT management and more advance computer equipment including the IBM 305 RAMAC computer so by the time he returned to UC so he was ready for his first assignment. He figured around 150 applied for the director of computing at UC and Bob went to Boston to be interviewed for the position.

In April 1966 he became the director of ADP. This group had fallen behind in terms of computing and in August 1966 the department leased an IBM 1410. From 1966-69 he got the administrative side back on track and up-to-date. On the academic side, John Varady took over the new University Computer Service department which included both the Academic Computing Services (ACS) and Medical Computing Services (MCS). They both had reported to a vice-president.

(I need to digress for a moment. In a previous post I said that John Varady was UC’s first CIO. This was never a title given to him by UC. I gave him this distinction because he headed up two of the three different IT related organizations at that time: ADP, ACS, and MCS. The academic and medical computing services origins went back to the late 1950s and ran as separate entities until the UC administration decided to combine them. When Varady left in 1970, Bob Caster was given the responsibility for managing all 3 organizations. He was the first UC “CIO” to oversee the entire computing operation. One of his hires, Jerry York, succeeded him to be followed by Robyn Render. However, UC’s first official CIO was Fred Siff and the current CIO is Nelson Vincent.)

The beginnings of SWORCC (Southwest Ohio Regional Computer Center)
SWORCC is a totally separate story of what people can create if they have the imagination and will to do so. There are a lot of people involved and I did interview some of them. This group of people created a culture of innovation and something so unique that it will never be reproduces again and best of all they had fun.

Towards the end 1970 Caster became the director of all computing which included the divisions that Varady controlled (Varady left in Oct 1970). Almost immediately the budget cuts started happening. He was told he would have to find money from the outside either through grants or outside contract work if he wanted to expand the data center. Caster was aware that NIOSH was moving to Cincinnati so he flew to Utah to talk to them about their computing needs and how UC could help them. He told them that the faculty at UC could handle their research and computing needs. He wrote a proposal and UC was given the contract. He also contacted the EPA which was moving into their new building next door to UC and again was able to secure a contract with them.

George Rievschel (see below) was his boss. Bob got to know other computer heads and he got to know Jack Southard at Miami and talked with him to expand their resources. Bob along with VP from UC and Miami and Alex Fraser flew to Raleigh, NC to visit the Triangle Universities Computation Center (TUCC) to learn about how they manage consolidation of computing services amongst Duke University, North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Rieveschl was very influential in convincing the Miami University officials to consider joining SWORCC as a partner which was started in 1973. In 1973 an agreement was signed and Caster was appointed the director. Between 1973-78 SWORCC was able win more contracts and grants. SWORCC existed from 1973 – 1978. Much of the computer equipment, furniture, and staff during the SWORCC period were paid for by millions of dollars earned from contracts with EPA and NIOSH. They had a staff of 225, and half of these were contractors on the university payroll as UC employees. This expertise aided the contracts as well as the university. Some of the faculty was hired to assist with SWORCC contracts. Some the contractors worked and lived in other states (several of the people I interviewed mentioned that they did travel.). Many of his staff, including Caster himself, taught computer and management classes in the Evening College. Caster was also appointed Adjunct Professor in the College of Business Administration. SWORCC even reached out to the local high schools as Elder High School, Forest Park High Schools (Casey Tompkins, a graduate from the former Forest Park HS, wrote a short blog article about using the terminal while a student in the math club (2)) and some others had terminals that were installed for free.

In 1976 a UC pivotal decision was made to bring in an Amdahl computer as UC had been a total IBM shop until that time. (Note: CG&E, where I worked for a few years, made a similar decision in 1990.) This decision was made in February which is somewhat ironical considering that the UC News Record printed an article about the IBM computer that ran the university on Feb 3 (3). UC got the 7th Amdahl computer made in the world. UC further “got more bang for their buck” by using other non-IBM peripherals such as CDC disk storage and other vendors. Beecher Hall was totally remodeled during this time. Things seemed be going well. (Note: Amdahl started in 1970 and by 1997 the company was completely controlled by Fujitsu. There is/was a UC Amdahl Alumni group that would meet periodically and I did meet a few of them at a luncheon event in 2008.)

Things seemed to going well for Caster and SWORCC but, in 1977 the political winds began. The UC administration wanted Miami to contribute more money. Miami felt they were already paying plenty. The end result was that Miami terminated the agreement. SWORCC existed in name only and for a while was known as UCCC/SWORCC (UC Computing Center) .Other problems ensued such as the loss of some key contracts especially from the EPA and Caster had to go of the contractors.

By this time Caster was reporting to his 6th VP, Mike Ullman. Caster was told either “you let certain people go or else”. Caster took the “or else” and left UC in May 1980. From there he went to work for the University of Connecticut (there is more to this story). Two of his former employees during the SWORCC days, Bob Mays and Lin Nanni, also followed him there. Eventually, UC went back to mostly IBM computers and peripherals. (Remnants of the Amdahl have been placed in several picture frames and hang in some of the offices in the Medical Sciences Building (MSB).) By 1978 the name SWORCC had all but disappeared from most computer related documents and the UC Computer Center (UCCC) was formed Jerry York officially took charge of UCCC on July 6, 1981 (4) as a new era of computing at UC began in more than one way as the personal computer soon began to replace the need for the mainframe or mini computers.

Note: I have found some documents that listed the organization as UCCC/SWORCC as late as 1980 before Caster left UC. In a Feb 3, 1980 Cincinnati Enquirer article it states "in 1977 SWORCC was disbanded -- except the initials remained in federal government contracts." This article further states that "the University of Cincinnati Computer Center, which was named recently to straighten out ... the tangled affairs of the Health Department's computer system."

People he commented on
George Rieveschl (VP)
He was very instrumental in the creation of SWORCC and its direction. (My comment: Rieveschl was born in Arlington Heights which is a small community just outside of Cincinnati and a part of the Lockland School District where I began my teaching career. He was an Ohio Mechanics Institute graduate which was the forerunner to the College of Applied Science where I started my UC teaching career. In 2010 CAS was merged with the College of Engineering to create CEAS. As a student I remember taking a few classes in the Rieveschl Hall. He was the inventor of Benadryl and UC annually awards the George Rieveschl Jr. Award for Creative and/or Scholarly Works in his honor.)

Mike Ullman (VP)
He was a UC alumnus, a former IBM sales person (as was Tom Nies) and the JC Penney’s CEO. (My comment: Ullman was the commencement speaker at UC’s 2006 graduation which I attended to watch my son, Brian, graduate from CCM. Brian was also was the student orator.)

Alex Fraser (biology)
A good friend and colleague -- was not always popular – did more as far as time spent on the political side with Miami and UC faculty – was real asset for SWORCC – he did a great job in handling all of that – he was no slough in computing either – Fraser later had a stroke

Paul Herget
Caster like him very much; a one time he asked Herget why he didn’t try to get more grants for UC computing, but Herget told him his work at the Observatory and the space program were just too time consuming. Herger would go to GE and CG&E to do some of his work. Caster considers him was one of the computing icons at UC.

Carl Evert
He would butt heads with Herget. (Remember that Evert was the director of Academic Computing from 1962-66 so it was no surprise to me that disagreements occurred and even Evert hinted at this in his interview with me.)

Gus Barr (Behr) – He did calculations in where to treat cancer in a short 15 minutes (I was unable to find anything on this person)
Eugene Saenger – knew him as well; he was involved in the whole body radiation
Ted Sterling – had a grant to teach visually impaired persons computer programming; later went to Washington University in St. Louis
Dave Bosse – very good programmer
Dennis Dilg -- was visually impaired so they got him a big monitor; he later went to Lazarus downtown
Jim Henry – had Cerebral Palsy; they had a special keyboard to help him type; he was good at his job
Joe Landwehr – very good systems programmer
Paul Messina – director of academic computing under Bob was very sharp
Rick Prairie -- hired by Caster and eventually ran the medical computing center
Al Tuchfarber – political science; he did a lot of surveys for UC and did a lot of work with SWORCC
Mel Yudofski – a good friend and colleague; Bob stays in contact with him
Amin Shafie – worked in the medical center as a biostatistician at time; he was great guy who reported to Mel Yudofski; very good at his job
Bev Upton – she started out in the Physics Building then moved into administration and then contracts and back to administration
Douglas Winget -- reported to Alex Fraser; was on the policy committee and was a very instrumental member
Henry Brasey – did a good job managing things

A few more notes on Bob Caster
Caster was involved with CUMREC, CAUSE, and EDUCOM and in 1974 he helped start the Ohio Higher Education Council (OHECC -- Early in his tenure he went to the dean of Evening College and suggested that the college start a data processing degree which became very popular. Caster had 99 students in his first class including an assistant dean. (Later they created several IT related degrees in the College of Evening and Continuing Education (CECE) which were later merged into our IT degree when the college was disbanded.) He gave a talk at the local ACM chapter on SWORCC in Sept 1973 that was held at Shuller's Wigwam restaurant. (I remember that restaurant well which was located at the corner of Hamilton and Northbend in College Hill. I ate there many times over the years, but after 78 years of being in business they were forced to close in June 2000 and the building was later demolished.)

Caster was responsible for shaping the Computer Policy Committee. In the 1970s mini-computers were creeping into the computer landscape much as PCs did in the 1980s. Caster had the authority to approve any computers that were going to be used on campus. There was a doctor who was doing premature babies research had requested a mini-computer which was paid for through his grant. Caster had sat on the PO for some time. Finally, the doctor (rightly so) called Caster and told him that if he wanted to responsible for more preemies’ death then “just sit on that PO longer”; it was approved quickly and another one was bought later on as well

During his tenure at UC, Warren Bennis (1971-1977) was president when SWORCC was started and then followed by Henry R. Winkler (1977-1984). Caster said that Winkler preferred IBM equipment so the Amdahl decision was not looked upon favorably by him. During Caster’s tenure he reported to six different vice presidents at UC and two at Miami University while Director of SWORCC and Assistant VP Management & Finance which never helped with the continuity of running his organization.

Dates of computers that were installed at UC
Aug 1966 -- IBM 1410
May 1967 --IBM 360/40
Dec 1968 -- IBM 360/50
Sept 1969 -- IBM 360/65
Jan 1973 -- IBM 370/165
June 1973 -- IBM 370/168
Feb 1976 -- Amdahl 470 V/6
An Amdahl ad in the Dec 7, 1975 Cincinnati Enquirer wanted Computer Field Engineers for their first delivered Amdahl 470V/6 in Cincinnati. I believe that was UC although no announcements were found in any news articles in the Cincinnati Enquirer or UC News Record. In a SWORCC ad in the Dec 19, 1976 Cincinnati Enquirer wanted Software Systems Personnel for their Amdahl 470 V/6.

1. “UC Records Management History - Part Three”, Records Quarterly, The Newsletter of the University of Cincinnati Records Management Program, Spring 2010, Janice M. Schulz, CRM University Records Manager and Archives Specialist
2. Ancient History, Part 1; AKA “Ah, the Good Old Days”, blog post by Casey Tompkins on his use of the SWORCC terminal,
3. “The IBM Computer That Runs the University”, by Paula Deimling, UC News Record, Feb 3, 1976

4. Letter from M. E. Ullman, VP for Business Affairs, announcing Jerry York’s promotion to director of the University of Cincinnati Computer Center, July 6, 1981

Editor was Mary Jo Mangan

Director's Office Staff
Standing (lt to rt):
John Kulasik, George Stanton, Betty Beets, Bob Caster,
June Delph, Vades Norman, Stuart Menniger, Mark Temming
Seated (lt to rt):
Mary Lou Nance, Mary Jo Mangan, Lynne Case, Linda Stoll

Feb 1976 as the Amdahl computer is being moved into the new data center